Thursday, March 19, 2009


A few weeks ago, Booking Through Thursday, asked the following question:

Have you ever been put off by an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse - a biography has made you love an author more?

And it lead me to think that I had a question of my own. Do you often read the author's biography?

I know that I try to read the author's bio if there is one in my book, however, I never do until the end of the story. So, if I liked the book, a bio has never made me change my mind and dislike it. However, they sometimes make me understand the story more, like in the case of Charles Dickens writings. And when I found out that Herman Melville had spent time as a whaler, it gave a new insight to the story of Moby Dick. So,personally, I really like to find out more about the author, but I prefer to find out that info, after I've started the book rather than before.

So for this months in between question, answer any of the above questions, however I'd also like to pose the question, would you like an Author Post every month? - A post about the author of the current months book's author? I don't mind relaying the information that I find about the authors every month, however, if no one else will want to read them then I won't bore you.


Magali said...

No, I have never been put off by an author's book after learning about his life. I don't always read their biographies, but I sort of know what to expect of the author, because everytime I am reading a book,as part of my thinking throughout the book, I wonder what kind of a person would have written this or that, what kind of influence was exerted upon the author while growing up so he would be expressing this or that that I just read. In most cases, if the results of my especulations are contradictory, then I look for a biography. It has always been fun for me, to try to guess what kind of a person would have written such or such words or ideas. And yes, I would love to get any information that you might have on the authors, gladly, Shimmy mom, and it doesn't matter if before or after we read the book.Thank you so much!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I love reading about authors' lives, and I like the additional insight that I get from my knowledge. Sometimes biographies explain a lot.

I'd love to see your different thoughts on the authors!

Sharon in KY said...

Only in the last few years have I begun to read a bit about the author's life before I read the book. I'm sure the idea of context was touched upon in my high school and college literature classes but I suppose I perceived it as something to get over with so I could get on with the story. But then I didn't appreciate history or culture or worldviews at that time, no where near fully realizing the impact an author's way of thinking has on his writing. That's silly I know but I naively thought the story was just the story.

So yes, now I do read about the author a little bit before I read the book, looking for time periods, geographical locations, jobs, etc. Sort-of the outline of their life. Then I like to read the book. When I'm finished I like to go back and read a bit more, what's in the Introduction is usually enough. This way I've formed my own ideas about why the author wrote as he/she did and compare that with another person's ideas about the author. I'm too easily led by others so I like to form my own ideas first.

Now in the case of Moby Dick, I had a feeling I'd be lost in it so I read the Introduction up front. I've skimmed the Introduction to Uncle Tom's Cabin but look forward to reading it closely after I finish the story.

Have author biographies ever changed how I like their work? Well, not really. But after reading about CS Lewis I liked his books even more. After reading about Lewis Carroll I liked Alice's Adventures even less. The biographies tend to push me further in the direction I'm already leaning.

Amy said...

I answered this question on my blog back when they asked it on BTT. Here's the link if you are interested:

I haven't read very many author's biographies, for some reason they don't interest me all that much. I guess I'm just more interested in the books they write.